From Russia to America: Student Life of Anton Naianzin

Someone never left the place where he was born and where his ancestors lived, while someone from childhood dreams of seeing the whole world or living in another country.

People often travel around the globe in search of new experiences, but not everyone dares to get out of their usual comfort zone, change their habits, lifestyle, and even language. Not everyone decides to go on a long journey towards their dream and completely change their lives.

Anton Naianzin, a popular blogger living in America, spoke about his move there and shared useful tips for those wishing to follow his path.

Anton, tell us about yourself: Where are you from and what are you doing now?

I am from the small town of Oktyabrsky, Russia, the Republic of Bashkortostan. Honestly, I don’t have a profession, probably. I always wanted to become a blogger and consultant for those planning to move to America. I love my work, although sometimes it is very easy to fall into the pit-trap of endless affairs.

Tell us about your move to America: How and when did it happen?  

I moved in the summer of 2018. Like many others, I have always dreamed of at least getting to the USA. Initially, I was afraid that this was a too-quick step cause I did not travel so much and my English was awful. I considered different options with other countries, but America was always the ultimate goal. At one point, I just decided not to complicate the path and immediately took up the preparation of visa documents, after I found a suitable school and city for myself.

What was your level of knowledge of English at the time of the move? 

I learned English only at school. Taking into account the fact that I was not the most active student and the fact that Russian education of foreign languages has a lot of problems, I practically didn’t accumulate knowledge. I definitely could not support the dialogue, so it was the zero level as I use to say. But progress went uphill rather quickly when I found myself surrounded by Americans.

What tips for learning English can you give to those going to move to the USA?

I’ve tried different types of language learning apps, but I can’t say it helped me in any way. I would rather recommend going to all sorts of dating sites or just using social networks to communicate with native speakers. The same chat roulette can greatly help in practice. Tinder as well at least upon arrival. I didn’t have to use it, but it helped many of my friends to immerse themselves in the local language and expand the vocabulary. I believe grammar is not the main thing at first.

Tell us about the language school where you study in San Diego?

This is USA ELC – USA English Language Center. A cozy institution with excellent management staff and kind, hardworking teachers. It’s plugged with students from all over the world and of all ages. It was a discovery for me how comfortable it can be at school: everything is simple and human, from the attitude towards students to the presentable and cozy look of the school itself.

All of that sounds simple, is it?

The whole process of the move itself was very calm for me, because I prepared for almost a year, read articles and forums, wrote to people directly to understand what real America looks like.

And it is really easy to enter my school. There are no entrance exams or special requirements for students there. I managed to find a place where they take with a zero level of English and a not big cost of training.

The first year of my life here was the hardest morally. This usually happens to everyone, but then it becomes easier. You make friends, learn the language, understand the American mentality and feel like you belong.

What led you to make the Being American project?

After about 4 months of my stay in the States, I realized that people are very interested in this topic. No one before me told me in detail about the life of a Russian student in California. So, it occurred to me to talk about my path and impressions about the country on the Telegram channel. About a month later I got 20,000 subscribers there, and two years later more than 130,000 already. Now Being American has become the largest telegram channel about the United States.

In parallel with this, I became more active in other social networks: Instagram, VKontakte, YouTube. This interaction of the 4 platforms is working very well for each other. People can accidentally find out about me on one of them and subscribe to another. To be honest, I’m crazy about creating content for each of them.

Tell us about your projects Being American Telegram and Being American YouTube Channel, as well as on VKontakte: what is their main idea?

Well, the main idea is pretty obvious, it’s to show the life of an ordinary young student in the United States. I had neither normal money, nor knowledge of the language, nor an idea of ​​living in another country, nor a concept of how to move. So, I think it’s easy for my subscribers to associate themselves with me. My Instagram is probably more about my life, feelings, and thoughts.

Telegram includes American news flashes more often, detailed analysis of specific situations that newcomers may face, and compare life here with life in Russia. I give a lot of information there about the preparation of documents, visas, etc.

YouTube is intended for greater visibility and for live broadcasts, where I can chat without editing, which is very convenient. 

VKontakte is like Russian Facebook. My VK group is such a salad with everything. It is a kind of mix of all the information: everything that posts on my other social networks comes out, as well as a denser stream of news, memes on the topic of America, or just interesting facts. 

How has America changed you?  

Cardinally. My life was divided into “before” and “after”. Rather even these are already two completely different lives. I found myself, broadened my outlook, tried so many things that I certainly would not have tried in Russia.

Traveling has become a big part of my life and blog. I have visited so many interesting and exciting places, the impressions of different states and cities are already enough for memories for the rest of my life.

I probably won’t even talk about some personal qualities, otherwise, the list of changes will turn out to be endless. I just finally feel that I am in my place!

Is it expensive to travel to different states and cities?  

It is difficult to say specifically since it all depends on the desires and places that you want to visit. Just recently I visited amusement parks for several days. Of course, such pleasure is a little expensive. But it’s worth it. Impressions will last for a lifetime.

Besides, you can just ride around the surroundings, watch nature, beaches, hike. There are many options for cheap travel, which I actively use. Sometimes you wanna pamper yourself a little and enjoy yourself in Miami or New York. If you save too much in these places, the trip will be incomplete.

Tell us about the first steps to Americanization

These steps, of course, are endless, and I do not know when it will turn out to reach the destination. But if we only touch on the initial stage, then these are just new habits: different food, different transport, the structure of cities, differently working medicine, insurance, prices, lack of familiar goods, and everything else. You pour in quickly because of getting a fast understanding of local life’s meaning.

There are, of course, unpleasant little things like a shower, which is everywhere built into the wall and gives some discomfort – you never stop grumbling about this quietly. But if the only problem is an uncomfortable shower, then it seems to me that life in general is good. 

Who shouldn’t move to America? 

If someone has any problems with tolerance, you should not change your lifestyle to American. Perhaps it is not worth moving here to any people who are always dissatisfied – such people do not stay here for a long time either. I guess you know those who can only whine and complain. Fortunately, they don’t belong here.

I always look at this from a more philosophical point of view. Forget about moving if you think that life will become easier only just from a change of location.

What are your most useful tips for those who decide to move to permanent residence in the USA?

I understand that not everyone has the opportunity to collect a large amount for the move, and at first, they don’t feel as comfortable as used to. So save up as much money as possible so that there is always a supply for a rainy day.

Also, since the Russian-speaking community in the United States is quite large, it is very easy to get into the web of the comfort zone and communicate only in Russian. I’m sure this applies to all nationalities and their languages. It is very important to try not to avoid this but to minimize and practice as much as possible in English, preferably with the Americans themselves. Otherwise, it will be difficult to adapt and this is a fairly common problem.

Also, I think it’s always important to develop financial literacy just to skillfully monitor your credit history and simply because you have to live in a different currency.

Before preparing the documents it is imperative to thoroughly analyze all the States and competently select the right one for yourself. You need to choose a place of residence according to the economy, weather, nature, entertainment, population, attractions, living standards, and so on. It is easy to find yourself in a place that, as it turns out, does not suit you at all, and such a problem is more difficult to solve later.

In general, never relax! You will not be happy until you create happiness.

Please share with us your plans and new projects 

Probably, I don’t have any unexpected plans. I have achieved almost everything that I wanted in life. Now all that remains is to multiply and expand. I plan to increase my activity on all social networks, increase the number of subscribers, and increase the quality and volume of content.

My little dream is to visit all the States. I have already been to 13 states, so I’m not going to stop. Moreover, it’s gonna be so much interesting content for my great followers.

The main goal is to stay in the United States and do whatever it takes. If everything goes well, then I will strive to improve it, because there is no limit to perfection! I don’t want to talk about really “Napoleonic” plans, because so far everything is at the level of ideas. Time will tell!

Read the main content on my telegram channel.

Also, I am on YouTube, I often go live there:  

Here’s also my account on Instagram.

And also the VK group.

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